Superior City Council Establishes Sex Trafficking Commission
It's an issue that isn't talked about much, but has become a far-reaching problem in the Twin Ports. That's why the Superior City Council is moving forward to do something about sex trafficking. At their meeting on March 2, the council established the Commercial Sexual Exploitation Commission - with the aim of targeting and prevention.
The commission will be comprised of elected officials and members of the general public. According to details released by the Superior Telegram, "one city councilor [will be] appointed annually by the council president and five community members [would be] appointed by the mayor". Those members from the general public would then go before the entire city council for confirmation, being appointed into three-year terms. The eventual hope is also that those members appointed from the general population would include survivors of sexual exploitation or trafficking to establish their voices on the decisions and plans being made.
The commission presents a step forward for the city. Superior Mayor Jim Paine concurred, offering that while the police department has always been active in addressing the issue, this new commission would "address the key missing piece - policymaking".
Another element that organizers are trying to achieve is a unified front - connecting Superior (and Wisconsin) with what is being done across the river (and bridge) in Duluth (and Minnesota). The Telegram details the steps already being taken on the state-level:
"A 2011 Minnesota Safe Harbor law protects youth from prosecution for prostitution and provides grant funding through the Minnesota Department of Health to help youth and survivors. Similar legislation was introduced in Wisconsin in 2019."
Since that time, officials in both states have been working to provide that united-front. The issue definitely has a need in the Twin Ports and in our region. Results from a 2019 Minnesota Student Survey detail that 1.4% of students surveyed said that they had traded sex for something of value over the past year.